A day in the life: Alex Quigley

This month, it’s Alex Quigley… Alex leads on the EEF-funded RISE Project, for which our Director Stuart Kime provides expertise. Enjoy!


What’s your name?

Alex Quigley

Where are you from?

Liverpool originally, but now I live in lovely York. I teach at Huntington School.

What do you do?

I teach English, write books for teachers and lead research-evidence-related projects. Pretty much all the exciting things in life, bar the illegal stuff.

How did you get into this job?

I’ve been at Huntington for years now, so I originally got the job with a stroke of luck I imagine, but more recently, my school leadership and research work has arisen from the ceaseless blogging (I have skipped my social life and gone straight to writing).

How are you involved with evidencebased.education?

I work with Stuart and evidencebased.education on the EEF RISE Project (Research-leads Improving Students’ Education). Stuart provides the bona fide expertise to help Huntington School, myself and Matt Smith (we both head up the project) to support research-leads to do good things in their schools.

What motivates you when things get tough?

I went to a state school where going to university wasn’t the norm and I am the first generation of my family to go to university. Education, reading, literacy, writing, and the rest, have unlocked opportunities for me that I didn’t ever quite imagine. My parents valued education and I do so too, deeply. I want the best for children in my school, and as many others as possible. It still gets me up in the morning… that and drinking unfeasibly strong coffee.

How would your colleagues describe you?

How do you answer this question without sounding foolish, arrogant or ignorant?! I hope they would say that I work hard and that I do my best for them and our students. Then they would mock me for being obsessed with Twitter and banging on about research evidence.

When you’re not working, how do you switch off?

Other than Game of Thrones, I will be found with a flickering phone screen as I surf voraciously and tweet a lot!

What’s been the highlight of your education career so far?

Releasing my book, ‘The Confident Teacher’, the other week was undoubtedly a career high.

If you could change one thing in your career, what would it be?

Nothing really – life is for living, not regretting mistakes and past decisions. I’m very happy with my career choice and where I am now.

What do you see as the role of evidence in education now, and in ten years’ time?

I see it as a pragmatic tool for teachers and school leaders to improve their decision-making: from buying some literacy programme, to giving purposeful feedback on a poetry essay. I see evidence in education as deeply empowering for teachers. One bright morning, research evidence, implementation and good evaluation will be seamlessly woven into the fabric of what we do and how we reflect upon what we do.


Quick-fire round:

Up with the larks, or burning the midnight oil?

A recent lark, but my heart is with the owls and the midnight oil.

Relaxing beach break or activity holiday?

I have young kids, so a relaxing beach holiday is the dream… but really it turns out to be little more than a mirage.

Tea or coffee?

Coffee. Lots of it. The proper stuff too. Life is too short for naff instant coffee.

City or country?


Board game or movie?

Movie, without doubt.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?

It will have to be a Beatles song. Here Comes the Sun. Most years I suffer a long and cold winter, but I am always optimistic about the sun coming along [Elaborate analogy alert].

And finally, tell us one interesting fact about yourself.

If I ever went on Mastermind, my specialist subject would be the Medici family and Renaissance Florence.


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